Wagner Medal of Excellence for DRI Scholars in the Early Stages of Career Development

The Peter B. Wagner Medal of Excellence, established in memory of DRI atmospheric scientist Dr. Peter Byrne Wagner, recognizes outstanding scientific accomplishments of DRI faculty in the early stages of their careers. The Wagner award recognizes scholars who meet standards of excellence in research creativity, productivity, and contributions to science. Furthermore, recipients of the award must demonstrate a deep commitment to the Institute through both internal participation in activities and programs as well as leadership in the broader scientific community. Wagner award recipients will receive a $1,500 prize for their achievement. 

Dr. Wagner's career at the Desert Research began in 1968. His research involved the development of new instruments and their use in exploring cloud motions and electrical processes in the atmosphere. While conducting research on March 2, 1980, Dr. Wagner and three other Institute employees lost their lives in a tragic plane crash. In 1981, family and friends established the Peter B. Wagner Memorial Endowment to provide several recognition programs for graduate students at DRI. In 1998, Dr. Wagner's widow, former Nevada Lieutenant Governor Sue Wagner, added to the Wagner Memorial Endowment to establish the Peter B. Wagner Medal of Excellence for DRI Scholars in the Early Stages of Career Development.

Previous Recipients

2017 Vera Samburova, Ph.D.
2016 Rosemary Carroll, Ph.D.
2015 Rishi Parashar
2014 John Mejia
2013 Justin Huntington
2012 Joseph Grzymski
2011 Anna Gannet Hallar
2010 Donald "Matt" Reeves
2009 Daniel Obrist
2008 Julian Zhu
Ross Edwards
2006 Alison Murray
2005 Paul Verburg
2004 Ken Adams
2003 Vanda Grubisic
2002 Xiaolong "Bill" Hu
2001 Christian Fritsen & David Benson
2000 David Mitchell


Candidates for the award must be full-time permanent DRI faculty at Rank II at the time of nomination.

Nomination Criteria
  1. Candidates may be nominated based on a cumulative body of published work recognized by the scientific community for its quality, intensity, or breadth of contribution or for a single, peer-reviewed publication that offers the rigor, creativity, importance, and presentation that sets a new standard in the discipline.

  2. Candidates may be nominated on the basis of peer recognition reflected by awards, memberships, and invitations to participate in scholarly pursuits.

  3. Candidates should have demonstrated a strong commitment to DRI through service on Division or Institute committees, participation in Institute events and activities, and representation of DRI in the scientific community.

Selection Criteria

The Wagner Medal will be given on the basis of scientific and service achievement that bring recognition to the scientist and DRI. The two major criteria are the quality of publications and peer recognition.

Specific considerations include:


  • Emphasis on quality (leading journals in the field)
  • Many incremental publications adding up to a major achievement
  • A single publication, or limited number of publications, known to have a major impact on the field

Peer Recognition

  • Societal awards
  • Citation indices
  • Guest lectures
  • Invitations to participate in national and international symposia
  • Membership on national and international committees


  • Membership on Division and Institute committees
  • Participation in Institute activities
  • Advising graduate and undergraduate students
  • Teaching
  • Membership in professional societies
  • Outreach activities
Nomination Deadline

Nominations are due by March 16. Each nomination must be accompanied by supporting materials, including an up-to-date resume, which will allow the Selection Committee to judge each nomination fairly. Send nominations and supporting materials to your Division Director.

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